Freedom: A History of US.
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Webisode 12: Depression and War
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Hitler and Mussolini
Segment 4
Adolf Hitler Twentieth Century Monsters

On the very day of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's inauguration in 1933, the day he told America that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," something fearful was happening in far-off Germany. The Reichstag—Germany's congress—was deciding to give absolute power to its chancellor, Adolf Hitler See It Now - Adolf Hitler. Imagine giving the worst people in a country the power of life and death. Imagine a nation that burns the books of its writers because it fears and hates ideas and truth. Imagine a nation that kills people because it doesn't like their religion or race. A nation that has decided to destroy freedom. That's what happened in Germany in the thirties. It became a dictatorship—the most evil dictatorship in recorded history.

In March of 1933, however, most people in America paid no attention to what was happening in Germany. Hitler was a little man with a black brush mustache and dark hair that fell into his face See It Now - Adolf Hitler Cartoon. He strutted about raising his arm in a straight salute and shrieking his speeches . He didn't seem evil; he seemed silly. Hitler calls his movement Nazism, for national socialism. In other countries, like Japan and Spain and Italy, similar political movements sprout up See It Now - Hitler and Mussolini. They are called Fascism, and they teach that loving your country is more important than loving truth and right actions. Militant nationalism is a twentieth century disease and a British statesman named Winston Churchill See It Now - Winston Churchill sees the danger of what is happening more clearly than anyone. He says, "Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry ."

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Did You Know?
The Nazis even had a children's organization, Hitler Youth, which operated with summer camps. The pressure to join was very strong. Why do you think the government would have children involved in a political party?

Did you know that Freedom is adapted from the award-winning Oxford University Press multi-volume book series, A History of US by Joy Hakim?

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